I really feel quite sad about the new/newly reinstated Flying Nun. Like it was better on paper than in actuality – or at least the nostalgia aspect is admirable. The reissues are bringing (back) into frame things forgotten, ignored and revered. The reissue of The Clean’s Vehicle was super-smart as an idea and of course a lovely experience to listen to. And Bird Nest Roys was great too, at first I wondered if that one was worthy – because it was a band I’d forgotten, one I probably didn’t know all that much about at the time. But it’s certainly worth hearing, worth having.
These sorts of things are good – The Bats, The 3Ds, The Clean, these reissues are to be saved, cherished, passed down the line, engage the new generation with them.
But on the other hand – all these ridiculous signings – the new blood, the new bands? They sound awful. Some of this shit is downright embarrassing. You heard that Badd Energy? The album’s called Underwater Pyramids. What a fucking joke of a thing. It’s like Tom Tom Club and Chicks On Speed caught fucking without a condom and this rubbish pops out. Just ghastly.
I wonder how long it’ll be before Flying Nun becomes reissue-only; heritage acts – even though that’s a disgusting term. That’s what will serve the label best. That’s what might actually save the label.
I dug out Pink Flying Saucers Over The Southern Alps the other day.
Check this out:
The Chills, Heavenly Pop Hit
Tall Dwarfs, Sign The Dotted Line
J.P.S.. Experience, Shadows
Able Tasmans, Hold Me 1
The Clean, Draw(in)g To A (W)hole
Verlaines, The Funniest Thing
The Bats, It’s A Lie
David Kilgour, Uplift
Chris Knox, Meat
Straitjacket Fits, Bad Note For A Heart
Headless Chickens, Railway Surfing
Bailter Space, Fish Eye
S*P*U*D – Go Ape
Skeptics – Sheen of Gold
Now that’s a fuckin album. Yes, compilation. And yes perhaps compilations don’t – quite – count. They’re not supposed to be in lists of great albums, technically. But this is my thing. I sit up to write this. I wonder about what I’m going to say each week. And this week I couldn’t move past this album. I picked it up a few years ago in a second-hand store. I remember it from back when it was released; a revelation to listen to in a friend’s garage. Never bought a copy myself, almost didn’t need to – these songs were all just imprinted on my brain. After one, two, three listens they were there. A few other great Nun compilations deserve a mention. I still have the CD of “Pop-Eyed” a good NZ music comp from back in the mid/late-90s. Some wonderful stuff on there too.
But this to me is it.
Because apart from anything else, 1991 was about the year I really discovered the music that Flying Nun was offering, had offered. And that music – then, as now – some of it was/is the best fucking music I’ve ever heard in my life.
Like any good compilation of assorted artists this sent me off to find albums, to see bands live, to get obsessed with particular artists. But I always returned to this little sampler, this catch-all that tells its own story.
So stop all this shit you’re up to now Flying Nun and stay in with those Captured Tracks people, stay focussed on where the real money – and the real worth – is. Those reissues; dig back and find other things to put on vinyl, re-release great albums by The Headless Chooks and The Chills and Chris Knox and I know The Skeptics’ ones are coming. But focus on that great stuff. Not this hoping-to-be-arty-farty-bullshit that masquerades as music.
That might just be me. Some of you might love the old and the new. Some of you might now want to suggest I’m only in with the old stuff and not interested in anything modern by anyone ever. That’s gotta be a joke I should think. But say what you will. I’m off to listen to this album again – one of the best compilations of music – by anyone, any style – I own. One of the best statements of great NZ music. One of my favourite records. And so I think it fits. I think this is a great kiwi album that you should revisit.